- Advisor to PM on Aviation, senior management and PIA's legal/financial consultants also attend meeting
Federal Minister for Privatisation Fawad Hasan Fawad on Tuesday chaired a meeting to discuss restructuring process of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) leading to its privatisation, PTV News reported.
The meeting was attended by the Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Air Marshal (R) Farhat Hussain Khan along with key members of his team, senior management and legal/financial consultants of the PIA.
“[During the meeting,] clear timelines regarding the process were agreed with a view to meet the target set by the prime minister and the cabinet,” PTV shared in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Fawad Hasan Fawad, former principal secretary to ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, was inducted into the interim cabinet on September 12, 2023.
The loss-making national carrier has been a subject of privatisation for years.
Last week, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar directed all relevant stakeholders to find an immediate solution to privatisation of the PIA.
Chairing a meeting to review the process of PIA privatisation in Islamabad, the interim prime minister urged the stakeholders concerned to expedite the process keeping in view raising standards of the national flag carrier as per international standards.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has also directed that emphasis should be given to the PIA’s privatisation instead of restructuring as the national flag-carrier is on active list of privatisation, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.
PIA struggles to pay bills
AFP on Friday reported that PIA was struggling to pay its bills and wages, after local media reports said the fleet might be grounded within days.
Abdullah Hafeez, spokesman for government-owned PIA, said the company was seeking urgent financial help from the treasury, but had secured funds “for the time being”.
“But we do struggle due to balance sheet challenges,” he told AFP. “That is why PIA is seeking balance sheet restructuring support from the owners.”
Recovery in flight operations
As per media reports on Saturday, PIA managed to post some recovery in its flight operations after the airline secured a Rs17 billion bank loan.
Earlier, news had emerged that PIA resorted to ground several aircraft as it was struggled to secure funds to maintain its operations.
In a post on September 9 on X, PIA shared that it had received “some critical funds” through banks, with the government’s support.
PIA came into being in 1955 when the government nationalised a loss-making commercial airline, and enjoyed rapid growth until the 1990s.
The liberalisation of the market and launch of several private and publicly owned airlines put enormous pressure on PIA, resulting in years of lossmaking.